Dena Kay Jones, acclaimed specialist in modern Spanish piano music, will perform for the first time at New Mexico State University on Thursday, Nov. 14, in a free concert sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. The concert, dubbed "Imagenes de Espana," will include pictures, text, poetry and accompanying select recordings of Spanish music.
"The idea for this concert spins from the concepts of adding visual accompaniment to the music," Jones said. "It truly offers a different aesthetic experience to the audience, and explains, through visual media, the influences found within the select pieces on the program. It's something new and exciting, and the format is bilingual, as a means to attract more audience members."
Jones has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Spain, Mexico, Italy and Canada. Her area of interest is in lesser-known Spanish piano works from 1900 to 1950.
Her debut album, "Luces y Sombras: Piano Works by Joaquin Rodrigo," was released in 2007, and funded by a grant from the Spanish Embassy in conjunction with U.S. universities.
Rodrigo is one of the artists whose works Jones will cover at the performance. Others include Enrique Granados, Isaac Albeniz and Manuel de Falla.
"I think I love all the pieces but my 'favored' piece perhaps is the piano transcription of the slow Adagio movement from the famous guitar concerto by blind Spanish composer, Joaquín Rodrigo - his Concierto de Aranjuez," Jones said, when asked which piece she is most excited to play at the concert.
"This work, transcribed by the composer himself, begins the second half of the program. Maybe it's because I was just in Spain, almost three weeks ago, visiting his only daughter, Cecilia Rodrigo. I am so excited to share the work on the upcoming program. I have played it for many years now, but coming out of the recent trip, I am listening to it and performing it with a new spirit."
Now the piano area coordinator and an associate professor of applied piano and chamber music studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, Jones said it was apparent since her early childhood that she would become a musician.
"It was a natural thing at first," she said. "But, as they say, '5 percent talent, 95 percent effort;' this could be a reflection of growing as a pianist. My journey had many bumps in the road, but by this moment in my life, I feel that being a musician - teaching piano and performing - is one of my most important life missions."
Jones earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance from the University of Illinois. In 2001 she earned her doctorate at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
"This concert targets anyone who loves piano and its repertoire, those who speak or read Spanish and people who have a passionate soul (for music)," she said. "I hope the Las Cruces audience will enjoy my work, my ideas, the composers' music and maybe grow to love Spain a little more, as a result of my efforts."
The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Atkinson Recital Hall.